Thursday, February 26, 2009


The Salt Flats provide some of the most bizarre formations anywhere in Death Valley. When I walk out onto them, they stretch away in every direction - making me feel as though I am on some lonely planet far away. Badwater is the lowest point in North America... 282 feet below sea level - and when it rains, water collects here. However, according to Wikipedia, Death Valley's "1.9 inch average rainfall is overwhelmed by a 150-inch annual evaporation rate..." (WOW!) These strange hexagonal patterns are formed as the water evaporates - leaving crystallized salt behind.

I've been to these flats in Death Valley several times, and I am awed by it every time.

Labels: ,


Blogger davidpatterson said...


I am enjoying seeing your work from Death Valley, and love the choice of black and white for this one of the salt flats at Badwater. Your perspective is great, really highlighting the wondrous patterns there. With all of the options, how long did it take you to settle on this spot?


February 27, 2009 at 5:50 PM  
Blogger Varina Patel said...

Thanks David. :) For me, composition is easy out there. I generally walk about a mile onto the flats to get away from footprints - and from there, I can't go wrong. I get as close as I can to show the texture, and start shooting. The patterns are so striking, that any one will do your photograph justice. I do look for distinctive shapes, an I avoid lines that seem to lead off the edges of my frame. Still - this is a landscape photographers paradise. Gorgeous in every direction. :)

February 27, 2009 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger davidpatterson said...


Thanks for the reply. I am heading to Death Valley later this month, and am excited to be able to visit some of the places you have been illustrating so beautifully recently. Am inspired by your work and am looking forward to seeing for myself such a wonderful landscape - thanks for sharing.


February 28, 2009 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger Varina Patel said...

Have a great time, David! I hope you have perfect weather and beautiful skies. :) Good luck and thanks for your kind words.


March 1, 2009 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Hi Varina,
Its Heather in SoCa!
Jay has led me here to your blog, and I think you just became my FAVORITE (sorry Jay)photographer.
I love a writer. And combined with your photo's, you have some amazing stories to "see". :)
I wanted to comment on 2 please.
INGENIOUS is your self portrait idea. I particularly love the profile photo with the USB cord.
And on the Camden Hills photo...I prefer the first one. Oct 14. At first, I loved the second post, it was rich with color, but in the end, I liked the color contrast between the red and the green in the ground foliage.(Were those blueberry bushes)?
I have not been to Camden Hills St Park in a few years.
From up there, there is a view I have wanted to see.....
As you know, my boyfriend Mark lives about 30 minutes from there. We have spots we call "phone booths". Places of beauty we sit and talk on the phone some 3000+ miles apart. One of his, was an old fire tower in Jefferson Maine. He had been going there more than 30 years.It was on "The Mountain Road". One day, he went there to call me, and the fire tower was GONE! We have since learned, that the town sold it to a man, living on an Island off of Camden.
And I have wondered if you could see this fire tower from Camden Hills St Park.
I love your blog.
I look forward to visiting it and reading of your adventures.
And I REALLY hope to one day make one of yours and Jays weekend classes.
Warmest Regards,
Heather F

March 2, 2009 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Varina Patel said...

Thanks so much, Heather. :) I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to meet up with you and Mark in Maine when we were there. It would have been fantastic to shoot with people who know the area better than we do.

I'm glad you liked those self portraits... I had a lot of fun with them. And thanks for your vote on the Camden Hills shot. :) They aren't blueberry bushes, I don't think... but I'm not sure what they are. Sorry!

I hope you do join us one of these days - to shoot or to take a class!

March 2, 2009 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger Perry said...

Fantastic work Varina, you know I'm a big fan! I haven't been anywhere like that before, since I live in Canada. The textures on those salt flats are insane - are they extremely brittle? They sure do look it.


March 2, 2009 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Varina Patel said...

Thanks, Perry! I'm glad you've found my blog. :)

The salt crystals are very brittle, yes. You can walk along the flats, but every step crushes millions of tiny crystalline formations. We don't step on the hexagonal ridges, since they will break apart and ruin the beauty of the location. Luckily, damage from footprints is only temporary. The next rainfall will dissolve more salt and create new formations as the water evaporates. I hope you have a chance to visit Death Valley some day. It's a fantastic place. :)

March 3, 2009 at 10:07 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home